Kindergarten through Second grade are the formative years in brain development!
As classroom teachers, you are are the first line of defense for most of these students. These are the years where most students with dyslexia are not diagnosed and/or are receiving intervention. But guess what?! Research has shown that many struggling students can rewire the pathways of the brain when given the right type of intervention. Another great thing about your grades is that the amount of time needed for successful interventions is significantly less than if you wait until the student is older. It is important for you to know how to identify the symptoms of dyslexia, how to determine the student’s strengths and weaknesses in phonological awareness and phonics, and how to provide targeted intervention.
1. Recognizing Dyslexia: Knowing the warning signs and symptoms at the various ages will help you quickly identify the students that are more likely to need dyslexic intervention activities.
2. Evaluate for Strengths and Weaknesses: Look at what your students can do independently. It is important to assess their phonological awareness level as well as what they know about phonics. I would recommend using a phonological awareness test, like the PADE (Phonological Awareness Development Evaluation), to discover strengths and weaknesses in this area. Another important place to look is in your students’ writing. However, you need to be looking at what they can do independently, not a sentence stem or copying from the board. To get a full picture of their strengths and weaknesses, visit my Getting Started page.
3. Learn about the continuum of phonological awareness and phonics. Once you know where your student is operating on these continuums, you can make decisions about their instructional level and what activities they are ready for.
To learn more about the phonological continuum, click here.
For the phonics continuum, click here.
To learn recommended sequencing of letters and letter sounds, click here.
Click on the images below to visit other sites that have great ideas on K-2 curriculum.
Starting it off Right: Understanding about Vowels
Vowels are the captains of every work. Without them, you don’t have a word, and you can make a new word just by changing the vowel. So vowels are extremely important to understand. The most important thing to understand is the vowel sounds, starting with short vowel sounds. Typically in education, we’ve taught the vowel sounds, but we don’t help the children understand when to produce each sound. My son used to try all three A sounds on a simple word like “hat” because he didn’t know WHY and WHEN to use each sound. So our job as educators is to help children understand those parts of reading and spelling. I’ve created stories to help explain all of these ideas. Watch the videos below to learn more.
For the next steps in spelling, visit my Spelling Rules for Base Words page.